'Climategate' undermined belief in global warming among many TV meteorologists, study shows

Feb 22, 2011

A new paper by George Mason University researchers shows that 'Climategate' -- the unauthorized release in late 2009 of stolen e-mails between climate scientists in the U.S. and United Kingdom -- undermined belief in global warming and possibly also trust in climate scientists among TV meteorologists in the United States, at least temporarily.

In the largest and most representative survey of television weathercasters to date, George Mason University's Center for Communication and Center for Social Science Research asked these meteorologists early in 2010, when news stories about the climate e-mails were breaking, several questions about their awareness of the issue, attention to the story and impact of the story on their beliefs about climate change. A large majority (82 percent) of the respondents indicated they had heard of Climategate, and nearly all followed the story at least "a little."

Among the respondents who indicated that they had followed the story, 42 percent indicated the story made them somewhat or much more skeptical that is occurring. These results stand in stark contrast to the findings of several independent investigations of the emails, conducted later, that concluded no had occurred and nothing in the emails should cause doubts about the fact which show that global warming is occurring.

The results, which were published in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society, also showed that the doubts were most pronounced among politically conservative weathercasters and those who either do not believe in global warming or do not yet know. The study showed that age was not a factor nor was professional credentials, but men—independent of political ideology and belief in global warming—were more likely than their female counterparts to say that Climategate made them doubt that global warming was happening.

"Our study shows that TV weathercasters – like most people – are motivated consumers of information in that their beliefs influence what information they choose to see, how they evaluate information, and the conclusions they draw from it," says Ed Maibach, one of the researchers. "Although subsequent investigations showed that the had done nothing wrong, the allegation of wrongdoing undermined many weathercasters' confidence in the conclusions of climate science, at least temporarily."

The poll of weathercasters was conducted as part of a larger study funded by the National Science Foundation on American television meteorologists. Maibach and others are now working with a team of TV meteorologists to test what audience members learn when weathercasters make efforts to educate their viewers about the relationship between the changing global climate and local weather conditions.

Ultimately, the team hopes to answer key research questions about how to help television meteorologists nationwide become an effective source of informal science education about climate change.

"Most members of the public consider television weather reporters to be a trusted source of information about global warming—only scientists are viewed as more trustworthy," says Maibach. "Our research here is based on the premise that weathercasters, if given the opportunity and resources, can become an important source of change education for a broad cross section of Americans."

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Shootist
2.7 / 5 (14) Feb 22, 2011
'Climategate' undermined belief in global warming among many TV meteorologists, study shows


Of course it did. How could it not?
ryggesogn2
2.4 / 5 (17) Feb 22, 2011
This is called a paradigm shift.
fleem
2.7 / 5 (19) Feb 22, 2011
Translation of the headline:

"Criminals caught red-handed damage their chance of being acquitted"
Doom1974
2.9 / 5 (14) Feb 22, 2011
So they are criminals? How come we have not hanged the people responsible for the toxic leaks and the pollution that the rivers have sustained since the beginning of the century then? Let's compare crimes!!!
deatopmg
2.3 / 5 (19) Feb 22, 2011
@Doom1974 That is done, the rivers are in good shape and the pollution gone along w/ the jobs (to China). Get over it and yourself. That is history.
Climate gate is what has awakened the open minded to the fact that these societal parasites, claiming to be climate scientists, were and still are plotting with the politicians and Wall Street to cap and tax us to death. Remember, if you're old enough to work, that you are one of the us.

Ready to drift into a pre-industrial society? Average lifespans 35 - 40 yrs, high infant mortality, a massive die off of the population because of lack of food, no smart phones, no computers, no games, no facebook, no twitter, no cars, just sun-up to sun-down hard work every single day? Ready?

Will we hang the global warming scam artists who set society back 200 yrs and cost 10's of millions of lives?
Howhot
3.5 / 5 (19) Feb 22, 2011
Polluters tend to be corrupt, and corruption spreads. This tactic by the polluters and AGW deniers, is typical of the corruption that we need to rise up against. Climategate is nothing compared to what wacko antiscience lies that the Climategatests use to support sort of conspiratorial delusion that an out of context email argument supports. Delusional people making other people weird.

Howhot
3.8 / 5 (11) Feb 22, 2011
You know, the bottom line is that propaganda works.
deatopmg
2.3 / 5 (16) Feb 22, 2011
@Doom1974 That's the distant past, the rivers are in good shape and the pollution is gone along w/ all the jobs (to China). Get over it and get over yourself. That is history.

Climate gate is what has awakened the open minded and curious to the fact that these sociopaths, claiming to be climate scientists, were and still are plotting with the politicians and Wall Street to cap and tax us to death for their profit. Remember, if you're old enough to work, that you are one of the us.

Ready to drift into a pre-industrial society? Average lifespans 35 - 40 yrs, high infant mortality, a massive die off of the population because of lack of food, no smart phones, no computers, no games, no facebook, no twitter, no cars, no power, unheated houses, no air conditioning just sun-up to sun-down hard physical work every single day just to survive? Ready for all the unintended consequences of the climate scam?
soulman
3.4 / 5 (14) Feb 23, 2011
'Climategate' undermined belief in global warming among many TV meteorologists, study shows


Of course it did. How could it not?

How? Well, you might expect that these people have half a brain (being in the business, more or less) and so would be able to tell the difference between science and fit-up jobs by anti-science nutjobs.
UCSUSA_Radio_Announcer
3.2 / 5 (11) Feb 23, 2011
Climategate has exposed more of the anti-science and "paid-for", unreviewed studies. These climatologists at UEA and Penn.St. were all vindicated and yet there are political and industrial forces still fighting against them, amazing.
dogbert
2.3 / 5 (16) Feb 23, 2011
When you screw up and your political plans for the socialist redistribution of wealth and your abuse of science to further your plans are plainly exposed, do a study to lament that the cat is out of the bag and try to put it back in.

Typical.
Doom1974
3.5 / 5 (8) Feb 23, 2011
Wow!! Sociopaths! Probably a better description of the far right. Beware the slippery slope. If you attributing a group of scientists, which come from a very wide group of disciplines, with a term like that,nothing can stop the same term from applying to all groups of scientists. Doctors, Engineers, Physicists, Chemists are all then sociopaths. If the do not conform to your beliefs....

Find me 10 people that with data, empirical and otherwise, with publications in journals around the world not in WSJ, well respected scientists that disprove what is widely held as a highly probable scenario and then speak.

If you think for a second, given a relax of environmental laws, we will not go back to the past, you are kidding yourself. Capital and corporations only adhere to the local laws. If the law for sulfur in gasoline for example relaxes to 100 ppm, the next day that is what you will get!! It maximizes profit.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (9) Feb 23, 2011
Find me 10 people that with data, empirical and otherwise, with publications in journals around the world

It doesn't matter if the data is accurate?
Do any journals publish data that the journal itself has validated?
Do scientific journals need to make money to keep publishing? If so, how do they do that?
GSwift7
2 / 5 (4) Feb 23, 2011
Totally aside from the usual debate you guys are having, I don't think this article is of very good quality.

The reason I say this is because ALL of the quotations and comments in the article are recycled from a press release last year. There's nothing new here in relation to any new poll they may be claiming to have done. The one from last year is old news, but they don't really say anything about the results of any new poll and they don't clarify that the quotations are all from the old press release. I believe I read them on the American Meterological Society web site a few months ago, but I can't be sure where it was now. I do know that I have read all of those comments before though.

The really interesting thing I see about this poll is that the opinions do not change based on levels of technical expertise. I would expect more educated experts to be more aware of the actual science behind climate change theory. I'm surprised that so many of them still question temp increase.
GSwift7
2 / 5 (4) Feb 23, 2011
continued:

Since the poll suggest that so many of the accredited professional weather forcasters answered this poll in the way claimed above, I suspect there may be a problem with the wording of the poll questions. I'd sure like to see them and maybe disect the wording a little. This result just doesn't make sense to me on the surface.

As for climategate: It's clear that certain people aren't as ethical as they should be, but it's also clear that they aren't just fabricating the whole thing out of thin air. Doing something wrong doesn't mean that your whole life's work is trash. I'm a skeptic, as you all know, but I hardly think the climategate emails I've seen indicate that the whole science of climate change is bad. The two or three people who did unethical things should just come clean and appologize. Done. Move on. I don't even think it was right for that MET office guy to resign. That wasn't very fair.
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (10) Feb 23, 2011
Both points of view are well represented on Professor Judith Curry's blog (Climate Etc)

judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
bluehigh
2.6 / 5 (5) Feb 28, 2011
reminds me of a Futurama episode on TV.
"Did you get an environment scientist to study the impact"
"Yes .. thats him in the money shower"
omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
Translation of the headline:

"Criminals caught red-handed damage their chance of being acquitted"


See Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the danger of science corruption:

youtube.com/watch?v=sXNyLYSiPO0